Innumerable agents, websites, and housing resources make finding properties available for rent fairly easy; however, expatriates usually find that engaging a relocation assistant or agent most helpful. As agents share their listings, it’s advisable to only work with one or two agents to arrange viewings. Furthermore, a few companies specialize in the expatriate market and are often more familiar with the requirements and preferences of expatriate renters.
Print classifieds are giving way to online listings in Singapore due to high advertising costs, inability to share extensive information, and decreasing use. Still, The Straits Times (Singapore’s most widely read newspaper) has real estate classified listings everyday and can provide valuable leads on private properties.
- iProperty, http://www.iproperty.com.sg
- Property Guru, http://www.propertyguru.com.sg
- Property Zone, http://propertyzone.sg
- Expat Choice, http://www.expatchoice.com/
Property Companies / Agents
Engaging a good property agent can make your search far simpler and less stressful, particularly if they are used to the preferences of expatriate clients. However, be prepared to pay for the privilege, usually the fees applied will be approximately two months’ rent.
- Propnex, http://www.propnex.com
- Knight Frank, http://www.kf.sg
- ERA, http://www.erasingapore.com
- OrangeTee, http://www.orangetee.com
- DTZ, http://www.dtz.com/portal/site/en-sg
- Expat Rentals, http://www.expatrentals.net/
All agents in Singapore are fluent in English; therefore, there is no need to worry about communication problems. Service is usually very good as well. Experienced agents are usually patient and are prepared to show you house after house until you are satisfied. They should have pretty good knowledge about the property market, the various residential areas, and legal and administrative proceedings.
It is always useful to complete some research before you engage the services of a real estate agent. Create a list of the areas that you are interested in living in and visit each of those areas without the agent. You will quickly find that some of the places you had thought would be perfect for you are actually far from suitable. This way you can present the agent with a succinct list of the areas in which you wish to see accommodation and can ensure that your time is not wasted being shown around large number of apartments that you have no interest in renting or buying. Be firm with agents as regards to your requirements.
Many agents show a propensity to completely disregard your requests, instead showing you the properties that they have available and are keen to rent or sell. This can be very frustrating, especially if you have a limited amount of time to find accommodation. If the agent does show you around a property that is far from meeting your requirements make it clear that you do not wish to see any similar properties.
Commissions paid to agents may be borne by the landlord or may be payable by you, depending upon whether you use the landlord’s agent or your own. When searching for a rental property you will see that some are advertised as co-broked and others are single-broker. Co-broked means that the landlord has a separate agent to the agent who is advertising the property and in this circumstance you will be required to pay commission to the advertising agent. If the property has a single broker then the landlord should pay all commission.
Many agents operate by taking a property that is already advertised and then advertising it again themselves in order to gain commission. Depending upon whether you would prefer a separate negotiator or to cut costs you may wish to try and find properties that are not co-broked as this can save you a lot of money in commission. The average value of one month’s rental commission is split between the landlord’s agent and your agent. Purchase commissions generally range in the 1-2% of purchase price, and are borne by the seller. When searching for a home, the agent will typically provide transportation, unless you prefer otherwise.